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In an interview with Smithsonian Magazine, Groening said that he was inspired by the TV series Father Knows Best, which took place in Springfield, Ore. The town is about 100 miles south of Portland, where Groening grew up.
“When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name,” he said. “I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S.”
He continued: “In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, ‘This will be cool; everyone will think it’s their Springfield’. And they do.”
Groening said that he didn’t want to reveal the location of the real Springfield so as not to ruin it for people who already had their own ideas.
“I don’t want to ruin it for people, you know? Whenever people say it’s Springfield, Ohio, or Springfield, Massachusetts, or Springfield, wherever, I always go, ‘Yup, that’s right’,” Groening said.
The Associated Press notes that Simpsons has made a joke out of its location in the U.S. In an episode, Lisa points to Springfield on a map, but the animated “camera view” is blocked by Bart’s head.
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